The Wrestler – Film Review

The Wrestler – Film Review

Ever since being introduced to wrestling through the WWE by my two older brothers at a very young age, I have been a huge fan of wrestling. Admittedly, in recent years my obsession with the ‘sport’ has dwindled due to the realisation of its legitimacy as to be even named a ‘sport’. However my admiration for those that participate in the sport has never gone away, rather it has only grown stronger. Being a professional wrestler is not only a job, but is an obsession, a way of life and that is expressed beautifully in this movie, The Wrestler. 

Plot and Opinions

Could the casting of Mickey Rourke in leading role Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson be any better? An actor of whom his own glory days seem a lifetime away depicts a washed up wrestler way past his own sell by date, and one who doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere anytime soon. Working what can only be described as local gigs, Randy is still the-wrestler-movie-picture-10pushing himself to the limits, performing to small crowds against amateur ‘opponents’. After a major turn in Randy’s health he is forced to contemplate life, most noticeably through his relationship with his distant daughter. From there Randy’s realisation of not being able to compete is truly heartbreaking and seeing him battle his demons is truly moving.

The wrestler is interesting in how it doesn’t follow the generic sports drama story line of being the best and beating everyone. It’s far deeper than that, it explores Randy’s struggle, obsession, and sense of loneliness just to stay in the game. Anything outside the world of wrestling is difficult for Randy, he evidently feels safe, secure and fits in that 459208-the-wrestlerenvironment. From that it is great how the Director has managed to depict the lengths Randy will go to stay in that environment, spending  thousands of dollars on various performance enhancing drugs, the complete lack of friends or family, all sacrifices purely to compete. It’s almost as if Wrestling is his coping mechanism, his bubble in which he can truly switch off and not have to worry. Everyone has their bubble, may that be gaming, music, chatting with their friends etc, however wrestling hasn’t just becoming a coping mechanism for randy rather his entire life.

Now we all know the job of a wrestler is to perform but it’s brilliant how the directors has depicted the juxtaposition between reality and performance. Represented beautifully in not only Randy himself but through Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) a ‘friend’ of hqdefaultRandy’s, being stripper at a local strip joint. Upon asking her out on a date, she changes unrecognisably so, not only through her obvious change in appearance but through her innocent, streetwise, gentile speech, a performance I can only but truly commend Marisa for.

Notable Performance

Mickey Rourke (The Ram) – From a very small leading cast it is difficult to pick the most notable performance, even though this may be an obvious choice it is truly deserved. You2008_the_wrestler_009 can only truly commend the level as to which Mickey has immersed himself in this role. He dives head first (literally in some cases) into every scene, he never goes over the top, never over exaggerates, rather he gives a very real performance, that only adds to the sincerity of the whole film.

Final Thoughts

It is often difficult not to think of cliches and fictitiousness with regards to wrestling. This film goes way beyond the surface of the glittering, over dramatised main event fights and comical dialogue. The Wrestler peels back the layers, exploring the ugly side, the real life of amateur wrestling and how ones fall from stardom can truly effect someone whom is truly obsessed with their profession. The Film is paced extremely well and every scene and sub plot adds meaning to the overall feel of the plot. Even if you are ambiguous or have a sincere dislike for Wrestling, it is still a great watch and relatable to those who simply can not let something go. 9/10

In Time – Film Review

In Time – Film Review

A truly refreshing concept in which the new currency is time and only time. Andrew Niccol of whom is no stranger to Sci-fi movies, directs, produces and writes, creating a truly unique and immersive world. Set in a 2169 dystopian world, upon your 25th birthday your clock starts to count down from 1 year and if time is up, you are finished. In order to add time too your clock and live longer, time becomes the new currency. A truly brilliant concept upon which explores the shift in social hierarchy, desperation and unbarring corruption.

Throughout the movie we follow Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), a lower class guy going by day to day with around 24 hours left on his clock. After being gifted obscene amountsin-time1 of ‘time’, Will then travels to the opulent upper zone and starts flaunting his ‘time’. He ends up in a casino gambling against one of the richest men in the world, whom is the owner of the biggest loan company, Philippe Weis and wins. in a bid to win back his money Mr Weis’s invites Will to a party which is where he meets Mr Weis’s daughter, Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried). During the time of Wills movements, his obscene jump in wealth does not go unnoticed by the time police or ‘timekeepers’. So upon Wills arrival at said party his attempted arrest takes a surprising turn as Will takes Sylvia (Mr Weis’s daughter) hostage and escapes. The plot then takes on from there upon what I can only describe as a very entertaining, bastardised Bonnie and Clyde meets Robin Hood.

Thoughts

A movie with a bold and unique a concept as this is often very difficult and near enough impossible to pull off flawlessly. This movie is good but not flawless by any stretch of the imagination, and so I will try and depict a few of the major niggles that bugged me.

First of all I feel the general plot starts off with some promise, however it quickly degenerates into a formulaic one. The ‘good guy’ persona of the main character, Will, is not particularly explored at all as to the reason why he wants to become this robin hoodIn-Time-movie-image-Justin-Timberlake-and-Amanda-Seyfried-1.jpg like figure. This is annoying as it very quickly starts to upsets the plot and make it slightly less fathomable. We don’t really know specifically, what he wants to achieve apart from to level the social playing field out as it were. Without the sense of a real plan, and no cues given to the audience the movie just stumbles along a little bit for me and everything becomes chance. On that point there is no real backstory to the world itself, is it an alternate universe, is it simply our world in the future, why did the currency change to time. All these questions, if answered by Andrew, I feel would have brought more believability to the plot and understanding of why peoples actions were so.

I did really like the depiction of the world, Andrew did a great job of illustrating the importance of time very well. I would perhaps like to have seen even more depictions of every day life though, I think that would have added a lot more realism and a sense of being to the world. For example, what and where they ate, television channels, Sports, etc.

Notable performances

Justin Timberlake (Will Salas) in_time_casino

Arguably his best performance to date, Justin takes on a serious role and excels in my opinion. Depicting and succeeding to encapsulate a sense of real desperation, bringing compassion to the viewers. Making viewers feel compassion on any level is very difficult to do, and I think Justin gives it a darn good go. A surprise choice of casting in my opinion but one that definitely pays off if you watch him with an open mind.

Dud Performances

Cillian murphy (Raymond Leon) 

This character was far too underdeveloped, as only right at the end did we get any sense of why he chose the line of work he did. I realise that the role was not necessarily written raymond-leonto be an evil one, because a timekeepers job and is an honest one; that is what he depicted. However, I would like to have seen more substance to his performance, by bringing a real sense of identity to the character, this was not done at all. I loved Cillian in Batman Begins and also in peaky blinders, very distinct characters, but he was way off the boil in this one for me. Perhaps i’m critiquing too harshly after almost being spoilt by his other roles.

Final thoughts

This truly is a brilliant concept and one that translated onto the screen very well. The divide between rich and poor is illustrated incredibly well via the very stark depiction of the ‘zones’. whilst the rich get richer in their own idyllic zone ‘Greenwich’, the poor get in-time_1_before.jpgpoorer. The desperation, the struggle and the angst is very real in the lower zone, people dying on the streets, wages being cut and prices going up. juxtaposing that, the overbearing greed and opulence of Greenwich is sickening to see. Perhaps this overall depiction is a deliberate ploy by the director, illustrating what our very own social structure will become in reality bearing in mind the current levels of wealth distribution. 7/10

The Hunt – Movie Review

The Hunt – Movie Review

Arguably one of the most poignant movies I have seen in recent years. The Hunt is as thought provoking as it is provocative, in both the physical and mental consequences of being falsely accused of a crime. It leaves you pondering over your own deep rooted opinions about how we as a society treat those accused, before and after trial. The Hunt also paints a very vivid and loud picture of the stigmatism those who are falsely accused have to live with, not only in the short term but for the rest of their life. 

Thoughts

For sake of your own enjoyment, I do not wish to go into too much detail about the events that take place, or the specific characters that are in this movie, however. Set in a small, idyllic Danish town the director (Thomas Vinterberg) tries and succeeds to create a very tightly knit community, with an ‘everybody knows everyone’ vibe (words to that effect later). We follow Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), an unassuming guy who is going through a toughThe_Hunt_Jagten_5 patch in his life due to circumstances surrounding the custody of his Son, Marcus. Lucas works in the towns nursery and is a lovable, warm character from the off largely due to his adorable relationship he has formed with the children. Mads creates an aura around Lucas that is very approachable, innocent and incredibly avuncular (which in our day in age unfortunately instantly sparks questions with a lot of people). The plot progresses into that of Lucas being informed by his supervisor that he has been accused by an unnamed child (that he is particularly close with in the nursery) of showing them his genitalia. When word spreads throughout the tightly knit community the plot degenerates into a witch-hunt and even Lucas’s closest friends denounce him, one being his best friend Theo (Father of the accusing child). The movie does a great job at depicting a small community in turmoil and several incidences creates this environment, from the refusal to sell Lucas his groceries, to the killing of his dog. As the movie progresses the director does a great job of infuriating the audience through the overwhelming level of protection of the child. As friendships that once seemed unbreakable at the start of the movie are left in tatters and blinded by the false accusation.

Bigger Picture

You cannot help but take this movie and put it onto a bigger canvas of Scandinavian culture in general in my opinion. The idyllic and apparent pinnacle of modern society norms somewhat fails dramatically in their over liberal mentality. I think it does in fact say somethUnknown-1ing about how children are brought up in Scandinavia, how they are clearly overbearingly spoilt and evidently have too much power over adults.

I am picking on Scandinavia here, however I also believe it applies to most countries in the west and their guilty until proven innocent ideology over such crimes. Still even after proven innocent as this movie clearly depicts you are never truly released from the chains as it were. I think it says a lot about how those accused are treated, names are released instantly to the press and their reputation is left in tatters for the rest of their lives.

Performances to watch out for 

Mads Mikkelsen – Lucas

Arguable one of the best and most underrated actors around. Not only can he play a despicable villain in the likes of James Bond and Hannibal, but he can evidently morph into a kind, compassionate and lovable character such as Lucas. As I mentioned before Mads creates an Aura around Lucas which is that of innocence,  only adding deeply to the truly saddening ordeal that Lucas has to go through.

Thomas Bo Larsen – Theo

It is the first time I have seen a performance by Thomas and I have to say it is a whole hearted one. You could see he was torn, between trusting his the hunt jagten thomas bo larsengut instinct or following his wife’s overbearing belief in their daughters story. He translated the pain and trauma that he was going through very well.

Final Thoughts

This movie is a beautiful illustration of some major flaws in modern day societies norms. The first being the way in which society as a whole treats those accused of a crime (they may not have committed) and the impacts that it has on an individuals life in the short and long term. another being the incessant, overbearing shift towards making children evermore the complete centre of attention, during every second of the day. A very organically flowing plot, with well explored characters, you care about each and ever one in their own ways. Coupled with some incredible, stand out performance, this makes for a must needed watch. A true eye opener! 9/10

The Wolf of Wall Street – Film Review

The Wolf of Wall Street – Film Review

Absurd, vile, crude are just some of the words that pop to mind when describing this obscene two hour and forty five minuet epic. The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the unfathomable events that took place on Wall Street in the mid 90’s through the eyes of Jordan Belford, a Wall Street stock broker. We are taken on a journey through Jordan’s career and life, the ups, the downs, the drugs, the sex, the money, the partying and the fraudulent schemes he and his colleagues conduct on the stock exchange.

Thoughts

Jordan Belford (The Wolf of Wall Street) Played by Leonardo DiCaprio is the focal character for this movie and good god what a misogynistic, nouveau riche bastard he is. Truly detestable. The movie follows events after the crash of 87 and the creation of his company, selling penny stocks to ‘shmucks’ whilst gaining obscene rates of commission. Before then moving to bigger premises and dabbling in stock manipulation, money laundering and pretty much every other financial crime that you can fathom.

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This movie tries to tackle the very serious issue of financial crime and all the rest that inevitably comes with it, whilst doing so it remains truly hilarious and thoroughly up-lifting. Martin Scorsese does a great job of making light of scenes and themes that are often difficult to watch, through the comedic scripting coupled with bizarre alterations in the music. Represented perfectly during the transition in scenes between Jordan’s yacht capsizing and then being rescued. The pace of the movie could have been in jeopardy, if it were not for the injection of a high paced song made the transition more palatable. I think this stroke of genius epitomises what Martin is trying to make people feel watching this movie, he wants people smiling throughout, and come out smiling…

Notable performances:

Leonardo DiCaprio (Jordan Belford)

I am sorry, but this performance just raises more The Wolf of Wall Streetquestions about the legitimacy of the Oscars. He was outstanding in this, the speeches, the selling and the fact he did not win anything out of this but did from the revenant is beyond me. The believability that he brought into this performance was great and he really got into the role right from the off.

Margot Robbie (Naomi Lapaglia)

Arguably her best performance to date and the one Margot-Robbie-The-Wolf-of-Wall-Streetthat broke her into Hollywood stardom. Her accent was bang on the money, her ‘rich girl’ demeanour evolves throughout the movie naturally and she creates a really likeable yet loathable character in my opinion, which is hard to do.

Matthew McConaughey (Mark Hanna)

Although this was more of a cameo, he wasBIG-MM-1200x520 arguably Jordan’s biggest influence in the movie with regards to the way stock brokers conduct themselves and what they do. Utterly hilarious, such a natural performance and I would actually like to have seen more of him throughout the movie, as Matthew created such a good aura and demeanour to this character.

Dud performances:

Kyle Chandler (Agent Patrick Denham)

There were no absolute duds, however slightly Kyle Chandleroff I must say was that of Kyle’s performance. I realise he was trying playing the ‘straight detective’, however he did not add much to his character with regards to personality and depth. Given the fact that he became one of Jordan’s good friends after to being released from prison (in reality). Leading to a somewhat forgettable performance in my eyes.

Final thoughts 

I don’t think that The Wolf Of Wall Street overcomplicates itself with regards to the satire of wealth and what comes with it, unlike movies of the same ilk such as American Psycho. The Wolf of Wall Street is just obscene in every way and I think that is why it appeals to a lot more people. In so far as there are no ‘hiddTHE WOLF OF WALL STREETen messages’ behind the scenes, like there are in American Psychos business card scene for use of a better example. Each and every scene is very memorable and gripping with regards to the unfolding of the story line. Coupled with some outstandingly funny individual performances this is up there with my favourite movies of all time due largely to its pure rewatchability.  9/10

Top 5 James Bond Villains

Top 5 James Bond Villains

I am going to start by adding a caveat to the title in that the four out of my five are pairings, being villains and their henchman. In addition this is my own top 5, if you think others should have made the list I would love to hear them so drop a comment below! 

5) Le Chiffre

A personal favourite from the Daniel Craig era is Le Chiffre. He encapsulates everything a bond villain should; the scars, the accent and that stare! Some of the most iconic scenes from that movie are only enhanced by Le Chiffre. Starting with the all-in poker scene; the suspense and his arrogance upon the showdown is just incredimads_mikkelsen_casinoble… ‘oops, you must have thought I was bluffing Mr Bond’ with a rise smile. But who can forget the famous rope scene? Torture scenes in Bond movies are often rather inventive, we have seen sharks, snakes, medieval devices an
d even lasers… But only Le Chiffre can make a rope and a seatless chair to be just as menacing as the rest… ‘i’ve got an itch’.

4) Auric Goldfinger and Odd Job

A Fan favourite through and through, this pairing is a classic and arguably the most Auric-Goldfinger-Goldfinger-1964iconic in the franchise. I think what has propelled Auric Goldfinger to such a fan
favourite is the legendary Laser scene, a classic which embodies just how evil he was… ‘No Mr Bond I expect you to die!’. coupled with the absolute unit of a henchman that is Odd Job, wielding a bowler hat that can be thrown to kill people, Sure why not after all it is James Bond.

3) Alec Trevelyan and Xenia Onatopp

Alec Trevelyan is an interesting Bond villain as he starts out as an agent for MI6, so Alec_Trevelyan_(Sean_Bean)_-_Profilethroughout the movie you still feel compelled to sympathise with him. Saying that it never detracted from just how evil he become, after all he did want to literally blow up the earth. His sidekick was the somewhat attractive Xenia, using her seduction skills to bizarrely enough kill people during sexual activity… yes I know. She was a true psychopath and a perfect companion due to her complete submission and loyalty to Alex.

2) Francisco Scaramanga and Nick Nack

To some extent I would say Scaramanga is a coward for large parts if not all of this movie, constantly trying to evade and lure Bond. However, this only makes him more dangerous and unpredictable, demonstrated perfectly in the final showdown on the island. One of my favourite Cbond-scaramanga27hristopher Lee performances, his delivery is sublime and menacing… He also has a flying car! A perfect companion to such an evasive villain is an unsuspecting midget in my eyes… I mean who would
know? Nick Nack is truly instrumental in Scaramangas plans for nearly all of this movie, and without him I think this movie would loose a lot of its charm and personality.

1) Karl Stromberg and Jaws

Come on, could it really have been any other duo? Starting with Jaws, the name alone gives you a pretty good idea of what this blokes gimmick is… teeth. He is truly frightening and could easily make it into any horror movie. He has been in more than one bond movie but he is at his best in The spy who loved me, specifically throughout the pharos scene. I mean, biting through lock and chains to reach his quarrelling victim, he is Jawsunquestionably the best bond villain. The thing is he is only a henchman, the brains of the operation in The spy who love me came from Karl Stromberg, who has to have the coolest lair in all the bond movies. Sitting in a victorian decor room, dropping unsuspected victims into a shark pool in his underwater fortress, I think is the pinnacle of what a true bond villain is all about

Burnt – Film Review

Burnt – Film Review

Directed by the most unlikely of candidates John Wells whom is most well known for his TV series Shameless. I have to say he has made a worthy effort here. He has managed to capture the brutal, intimidating and fiery environment of a Michelin starred kitchen perfectly in this movie, delivering the Gordon Ramsey vibe sublimely… ‘It’s f*****g raw!’. Often dry and with little substance, movies of the culinary sort usually lack depth, to put it mildly. But this movie gives you a lot of breathing space to understand who and what the characters are all about. Not only that but this is one of the first movies I have seen that has genuinely tried to tackle the obsessive mind of a chef and their yearning for perfection. 

Plot and opinions

Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper), a recovering alcoholic and drug addict is trying to get his act back together to prove his worth in the restaurant business and gain his three michelin stars. After much persuasion his rather reluctant former maitre d’, Tony (Daniel Brühl) hires him. Adam then promises said former maitre d’ that he will assemble the best chefs he has previously worked with to reach perfection.

Upon this magnificent seven like assembling burnt07of chefs we come across Helene (Sienna Miller), who is the main supporting character. Kids flirting on steroids is the only way I can describe the relationship between Adam and Helene. As, instead
of pulling at her pigtails he physically assaults her during
service to prove a point, yet clearly having affections towards her. Cementing how truly dysfunctional Adam is as a character, as his inability to share emotion is very apparent.

Character exploration (besides the leading) and extensive screen time was tried through Adams doctor (Emma Thompson) to help him battle his demons during the movie, but I have to say it bluntly, she burnt09added nothing. There were however shimmers of light coming from some of the kitchen staff during certain scenes, only to be ignored for the rest of the movie once they were semi-established. It was a shame that these characters were not explored further, to add even more purposeful layers to the movie. Therefore it almost felt like a one or two person show at times, with Adam spearheading it in his search for perfection. But maybe the unnecessary character development would have merely detract from the heart of the movie, after all too many cooks spoil the broth…

Notable Performances

Bradley Cooper as Adam jones:

For large parts of the movie Adams cold exterior in a tunnel like state of mind for success takes precedence. Though from that, it is interesting to see how his character develops as his barriers are softened and start to come down. Bradley convincingly proves throughout the movie that he can convey the complexity and depth of his character very well. Especially due to the fact that there has not been a particularly strong performance previously for a model by any actor in a culinary role in my eye’s.

Final Thoughts

In all honesty I did enjoy this movie. It was refreshing to watch a drama that has a different theme, compared to a lot of the predominantly regurgitated content we have gotten lately. Although the premise (in that a chef wants to get three Michelin stars) and some of the characters are to some extent basic, it was executed quite nicely. Some nice onscreen relationships, coupled with an unforced and natural plot made the perfect recipe!  7/10

Inglorious Bastards – Film Review

Inglorious Bastards – Film Review

When you think about WW2 movies you instantaneously think that the plot is either to eradicate all Nazi’s off the face of the earth or to simply Kill Hitler and his bum chums. Well this movie does not wholly differ from that notion, yet it totally differs from the norm entirely!

The Plot (in a roundabout way)

Tarantino’s Bastards (a Jewish-American revenge squad) are dropped behind enemy lines to first and foremost kill Nazi’s (100 scalps each to be precise). This seems simple enough right? Well… this is where it gets a little more complicated to explain without being that bum who coughs up the whole reason why you would go through the twFilm Title: Inglourious Basterdso and a half hour slog. However, Tarantino tries (and succeeds) to create an epic that is not a mere American V Nazi bust up (cough, Saving Private Ryan). Rather he incorporates the German film industry into the plot creating an opportunity to exploit the Nazi’s leaders from the core… that being at a German film premier… in France. Yes, now you are with me. In order for this five part plot to develop organically and not seem too forced Tarantino introduces a British captain (fluent in German), a German film star (working for the ally’s) and a french cinema owner who really hates Nazi’s (the first scene may give you the reason) to add depth and substance to the plot. The movie is structured in the five part way to yes, give depth to the characters, but to also keep the movie flowing so that Quentin’s well known jigsaw can be put together to reach the finale. However, don’t be under any illusion that the only bit of action is the finale… because trust me, it’s not. 

A delve into some of the characters

As always the characters in Quentin’s movies are sublime and IB is no different. Starting with Colonel Hans Landa (the Jew hunter) of the SS played by Christoph waltz. Although the scripting is gripping and well written, Christoph truly does however mould this character from the off bringing him to life depicting the menace, intimidation, intellect and to some extent the charm all in a very real and believable way. Those associated with the SS in Nazi germany were well known to be creepy, odd and incredibly in
tense. Christoph epitomises this in each and ever one of his scenes through his delivery and his body language.

Landa_gives_Aldo_his_knife_backIn the second part we meet Lt. Aldo Raine (AKA Gorlami!) played by Brad. A brusk southerner who has one thing on his mind… to kill Nazi’s. Brad creates a character who is truly likeable, funny and although does not have the depth of Christoph’s character, still makes a big impact in the film. 

Lt. Archie Hicox, who could be a better match for a Brit tasked to disguise himself as a Nazi than Michael FaMichael-Fassbender-as-Lt-Archie-Hicox-inglourious-basterds-38821767-500-334ssbener? Clue… there isn’t! Possibly one of Quentin’s easiest casting decisions he has had to make in his career, Michael does not disappoint. smooth, sophisticated, charming and cool all spring to mind when describing Archie. 

There are also some big female power roles present in this movie one of which is Shosanna, The cinema owner played by Melanie Laurent. Strong, no shit taking girl 12820b56562eb2abfea0dbd59ae6b18awho is the character with arguably the biggest backstory. Her attitude towards authorities of power does not change throughout the movie rather she becomes more abrupt in dealing with those she dislikes (most notably with a certain German that decides he likes her… big mistake.) 

Final Thoughts

Tarantino really pulled it out the bag with this one. His ability to captivate an audience not only through brutal action sequences but through long spells of dialogue is truly spectacular. Once again he sucks you in and immerses you into not only the brilliant characters but also the vastly distinguishable scenes that he creates. The pouring of the whisky, milk or champagne, the dollops of whipped cream, the offering of a cigarette… simple as they may seem these actions and the way he takes these shots makes you believe that you are truly there. These distinguishable scenes create an ease of reference to this brilliant film when you come out of the cinema or when you are talking about it with friends in years to come. A truly re-watchable classic. 9/10

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